Poster for 2014 FIFA World Cup- Recife. Credit Here.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil kicks off today (June 12th), with the first match between Brazil and Croatia starting off the festivities. Running June 12th to July 13th, it will a month-long celebration of the world uniting in the celebration of fùtbol (soccer).
As much as the world can come together for this event, I have my own personal connection to this specific World Cup. One of the host cities, Recife, is where my (many greats)-grandfather Resolved Waldron came to in 1633. He signed up in the Dutch West India Company in his home city of Amsterdam, and due to his knowledge of Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, and English, became the Dutch governor’s translator. Dutch Brazil is little known; the Dutch conquered the east coast of Brazil in 1630. Its capital was Recife, where Resolved Waldron, and his wife, Rebecca, immigrated to in 1633.
I am at work on a historical fiction novel including 2 of my ancestors, Resolved Waldron and Christian Fast, that is meant to show how the dream of democracy took generations to achieve in America. Part of the book talks about Resolved’s time in Recife, and I would like to share with you a bit of that part of my work-in-progress. (NOTE- This is the first draft, not the finished product)
As the Orange pulled into Recife’s harbor, I was talking to Captain Boeke. I said, “How long will you be here?”
The captain said, “Oh, about a month. Enough time to load up the sugar from the plantations and get it back to Europe.”
“If you ever need a place to stay here, you are more than welcome in my home.”
“That is very kind of you, Mr. Waldron. Thank you.”
As our conversation ended, I grabbed our bags and met Rebecca, who was already on the pier. I said, with a huge smile, “This city is more beautiful than I could have imagined! The colors, smells. Magnificent!”
Rebecca said, “I couldn’t agree more!”
As we walked on the pier, away from the Orange, we saw merchants selling sugar, spices, and rum. Rebecca would stop every so often to smell the spices, and at one point began to talk to a sugar merchant.
Rebecca said, “How much do you charge for a pound?”
I translated this to him, and he said, “Mi amigos, cinco reales.”
“Oh!” Rebecca said. “Resolved, 5 reales?”
“That is much cheaper than Amsterdam.” It was.
Turning back to the merchant, she said, “We will take 2 pounds.” She held up 2 fingers.
“Oh, si, si!” He handed me the sack. “Muchas Gracias!”
I said, “De Nada,” and we both resumed walking.
As I was talking to Rebecca about how happy I was to be off the ship, a man ran over to us and said, “Mr. Waldron?”
I responded, “Yes?”
“I am your guide. Governor Maurits asked me to lead you around our great city.”
“Okay, that is very kind of you, um…”
“Ricardo. I have lived my entire life here, and know this city better than anyone.”
We began to walk, heading to the city center. Ricardo said, “We have about 10,000 people here.” He pointed to his left. “That is the zoo. You know, it was the first to be built in the New World.” Motioning right, “Those are the botanical gardens of our city. If you want quiet time or a place to think, come here.” As we walked through a small part of the gardens, we saw orchids, hibiscus, and chrysanthemum flowers, and the wonderful fragrance could only be rivaled by Amsterdam’s spice district.
As we reached the city center, we saw the main buildings. There was a small floral area in the center and structures all around. One of the greatest things about this city is the colors. All of the buildings had walls painted with magnificent aqua blues, yellows, orange, and reds. The colors matched perfectly with the climate, too.
While being lost in the colors, I was interrupted by Ricardo. Pointing to the stand-alone home right off the center of the city square, he said, “And we have arrived at your new house!”
My mouth dropped as we saw our new house. The home was built with a center and 2 wings that stuck out toward the dirt and sand streets. It was painted a reddish-orange and had a red tiled roof.
Rebecca said, “Thank you, Ricardo, for the wonderful tour. Your city has a lot to offer.
I then said, “Tell the Governor that I will see him first thing tomorrow.”
Ricardo said goodbye to us, and went on his way.
“Oh Rebecca!” I said. “This city is so wonderful, and look at our house!”
“Yes, dear. Do not let your excitement cloud your judgment, though.”
What did she mean by that? I told myself that she was just tired, but in the back of my mind that comment replayed itself over and over.
We walked inside our new home, and I sat down our luggage in the doorway. I paid the money I had saved working at the printer’s shop years ago to pre-furnish the home, so Rebecca and I decided to just lay down in our new bed and sleep. }
Team USA. Credit Here.
A few of the matches in Recife include the United States team. Team USA will be playing the Germans on June 26th. There are a multitude of other matches to be played there, but that is the highest-profile game to be played at this point in the standings.
Recife is a beautiful coastal city, and Brazil’s 5th largest city, with almost 4 million inhabitants. It was considered the first cosmopolitan city in the Americas, and had the first zoo in the Western Hemisphere.
I look forward to all the matches in Recife, and all the other cities in Brazil. Go Team USA! ¡Ole Ola!